Here’s how you can prepare for an expected increase to your heat bill

SPOKANE, Wash. — As we start to see cooler temperatures in the coming weeks, you can expect to see your heating bill increase.

A new report estimates that families across the country should expect to pay 17 percent more this winter to heat their homes. From natural gas to electrical heating to propane, everything is going to be more expensive this year.

But what does it look like here in the Inland Northwest, and is there anything we can do about it?

Just like your groceries, gas and travel, your heating bill is expected to cost more. The average cost to heat your home has gone up 35 percent over the last two years. Natural gas is now 66 percent more than what it was in 2020. This method is what nearly half of Americans use to stay warm.

“Electricity and natural gas and oil, they all heat differently,” Vern Malensky, Manager of Energy Efficiency at Avista said. “So really understanding what some of those costs are important.”

Here in the Northwest, the increase in home heating costs isn’t expected to meet the national average. Customers can still expect a slight increase.

Avista says there are ways to avoid rising costs and keep money in people’s pockets.

It all starts with insulation.

“A door sweep is a good example of a way to insulate the doors,” Malensky said. “A quarter-inch gap around your door can equate to almost a seven-inch hole in the side of your wall.”

Windows are another way to provide insulation.

“Put some insulation or some plastic over your windows to help insulate,” Malenksy said.

Malensky says your heating system makes up 50-60 percent of the overall energy you use in your home.

If it ends up being a warmer day, shut off your heating system to give it a chance to rest. Try to keep it around 68 degrees in your home during the winter months.

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